The Green Goblin & The Conservation of Momentum

The Physics of Superheroes is a fantastic book by Dr. James Kakalios that explores how physics is both utilized and completely ignored in the world of comic books. From Superman’s ability to fly faster than a speeding bullet, to the physics behind Spiderman’s ability to effortlessly swing through New York City, this book is fantastic for both a comic book lover and physic teacher. Throughout the book James explores how certain elements of super heroes abilities actually fit in quite nicely with the way physics in the real world works, and at times, the super abilities just seem to be a “miracle.”

What’s really awesome is that he gives talks about the book from time to time, and there just happens to be a great one on YouTube about a particular fight between Spiderman and the Green Goblin, in which Spidey’s girlfriend ends up as a tragic victim as a result of the conflict. Not only is it shocking in that a long standing character dies in the comic, but it’s important that the writers of the book got the physics completely right!

If you teach physics, this is well worth a view in class about the conservation of momentum, especially at the High School level 🙂